“Listen to your customers. Change your product to meet the customers’ needs or change your market.” You have probably heard this from every business advisor in the business.
To help bill more hours you need to know your customers well.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to collect data and store it in some type of database.
Originally, databases were simple pads, notebooks or 3×5 cards and details such as name, address, and details of the vehicle were all that was needed.
But in today’s high-tech world where the customer is viewed as king or queen, it is vital that workshops not just collect as much information about their customers’ needs but also to have the ability to analyze this information.
Nowadays, databases have moved from simple notebooks and 3×5 cards to software packages like Act and Goldmine with even more sophisticated programs being custom built in SQL and Microsoft Access.
Grab a pen and let me suggest some automotive marketing ideas:
- You could also collect the name of their spouse and find out if they own a car. You’re obviously looking at ways that you can get this other car in for servicing as well.
- What about storing the year, make, and model and getting a quote for insurance.
- Write to them a few weeks away from when you want to get their car back for servicing and give them a range of insurers and some indicative quotes. Naturally, you would do well to confirm their age and no claim bonus track record and any relevant history—if that is at all possible.
- Their first name and surname are separated so that you can personalize their letters or any mail merges that you wish to send.
- Their vehicle’s make, model, and registration number so that you can mail them any articles that relate to their vehicle, perhaps a vehicle safety recall, or advise them about any valuations that they may have asked for as they may have been thinking of trading in their vehicle. view detailed updates at http://www.DodgeCast.com
- Perhaps you can collect the date that their registration sticker expires. Post them a reminder say three weeks before it expires and include the address of their nearest Licensing Center. Or you could advise any BPay or direct credit facilities that the Government Department has.
So what does this mean to the average Automotive Repairer?
Well lots, if you don’t know your customer, you cannot anticipate their needs!
If you can’t anticipate their needs, then you will not be at the top of their mind when they have a need to think about their car.
Being top of mind is about collecting and analyzing the right data so that you are able to put an action plan together—a ‘marketing’ action plan.
Given the reliability of vehicles and the continuing reduction in operating costs surrounding vehicle ownership, it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain a business based on parts failure or vehicle breakdown.
Even the move towards building a business based on vehicle marketing services is now less viable, given the length of time now recommended by manufacturers between services.
And when this is coupled to the relative cheapness of buying used vehicle in real dollar terms, it is obvious that being in business today is not about just repair and maintenance it is about—it’s about the relationship.